Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Geelong High School 1909-16 : a study of local response
    White, David Llewellyn ( 1978)
    The years 1909-16 saw the expansion of public secondary education within Victoria. It represents the working out of certain aims and policies for secondary schools between a centralised Education Department in Melbourne and the local communities that were financially involved in the provision of these facilities. This thesis will attempt to identify the forces shaping the development of Geelong High School. It will outline the aims and values of this community and evaluate the significance of their perception of what secondary education should be about. The study will look at the role of the Education Department - its director, its administrative philosophy and the attitude of the State Government towards the expansion of secondary education. The study will examine the interplay of these factors with the significant contribution of the school's educational leadership and philosophy. The main argument of the thesis is that the success of Geelong High School was to a large extent due to its support from a middle class. They saw in the school opportunities for their children resulting from an education that was financially beyond them at the prestigious fee-paying public schools. In responding to these needs the school would survive in spite of almost overwhelming odds in its early years. A comparative study with Colac Agricultural High School will be made to clarify the point that it was community support, and not legislation and regulations from the Department, that was to be the main reason for the success of Geelong High School.
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    The Victorian National Party : an investigation of the policymaking process which resulted in the National Party education policy statement released for the 1985 Victorian state election
    Owen, Karen Ann ( 1990)
    This thesis is an investigation of the policymaking process of the Victorian National Party. The focus of the study is the development of the Education Policy statement released to the public during the election campaign for the 1985 Victorian state election. During the time which this study reports the National Party was the third party in the Victorian Parliament. Its policy making and activity in the legislature was that of an opposition party. It had thirteen parliamentary members and represented a large rural section of Victoria. Its existence grew out of the political coalescence of rural communities and representative associations in the 1890s. Initially its policies concentrated on addressing the trade, marketing, transport and rural industry issues faced by the farmers. Today the National Party's policies cover all policy areas parallel with Government portfolios. Data for the study were collected from a number of sources. Preliminary interviews were conducted with members of the National Party and the Parliamentary National Party to establish what 'rules' existed to govern and guide the policymaking process. These interviews were followed by an examination of the actual roles of the Annual Conference, the National Party Parliamentary Party and the Central Council Education Policy Committee, in determining changes to education policy between 1982 and 1985. Policy changes were described from a comparison of policies released during successive state election campaigns. between 1977 and 1988. To focus the study within this framework an examination was made of the relative roles of the policymaking structures identified in stage one during policy making for selected policy subject areas within education. This data is presented in three case studies. The findings of the study demonstrate that a disparity exists between the formal rules about how policy should be made, as expressed in the Victorian National Party's Constitution, and the actual activity which took place and resulted in selected policy products. It was clear from the findings that the National Party Parliamentary Party had the greatest power and responsibility for policy making, and that the Party's Education Spokesman had a lead role in education policy making. Evidence suggests that while the Central Council Education Policy Committee was formed to advise the Parliamentary Spokesman on education matters and to report to Central Council, its role was somewhat less than powerful and its output was effectively a synthesis of policy already made by the Spokesman and Parliamentary Party. There is evidence from the study to support the notion if incrementalism and elitism in policy making. It is also evident that personal biases and political expediency were at play. This range of influences draws the researcher to conclude that no one single model of policy making effectively describes the Victorian National Party's policymaking process. In fact, this study has raised a number of questions which could be explored in subsequent study. Not the least among these questions would have to be a more thorough exploration of the impact of 'being in opposition' on the policy decision process; an investigation of opposition strategy making in the political gamesmanship sense and the impact of mutual/joint opposition arrangements to 'tackle' Government, with resultant policy outcomes for the opposition parties. Studies could also be undertaken to look at group decision making and levels of participation with attendant power playing, lobbying and political bargaining and trading within the National Party, between the National Party and the Liberal Party, and between the National Party and the Labor Party. These relationships and interactions have outcomes in the policymaking process for the political parties. Personal biases and leadership styles are factors which could also be examined further as could the impact of public accountability and the pressure this imposes on policy making. One further factor which impressed the researcher was the timing factor. The appropriate timing of data and persuasion was critical to the achievement of policy outcomes and skilfully manipulated could be a powerful tool for a lobby group or a political party. It is clear from this study that policy making is a complex, multi-dimensional process and that much scope exists for its exploration and further identification.
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    Transforming policy into practice : the implementation of the Curriculum and Standards Framework in primary schools in Victoria
    Meyer, Heather ( 1997)
    This thesis examines individual school use of a newly introduced curriculum policy, the Curriculum and Standards Framework (CSF). Its purpose was to explore how a central policy impacted on individual schools and the processes that occurred within the school to transform CSF policy into classroom practice. It examines the way knowledge relating to CSF policy and other knowledge was transferred and used within schools and the factors that affected this process. The context in which this innovation occurred was examined before considering the determinants and outcomes of policy use. Recent knowledge utilisation theory in the area of policy innovation was used to refine ideas further. It was argued that a major determinant of CSF use was the characteristics of the CSF itself. From this a tentative three level conceptual model for CSF policy use was constructed. Variation in. use, it was reasoned, depended on local capacity to utilise curriculum knowledge. These arguments formed the basis of the research questions. A multiple case study approach was used to determine both the general pattern for CSF use and variations in use. An exploratory approach, gaining data from many sources within each of the sites over time, was utilised. Analysis of the data showed that the conceptual model was appropriate and a single factor, defined as "culture of change", accounted for most of the variation between sites. This factor was a conglomerate of sub-factors concerning structures, knowledge, processes and capabilities within individual school sites. In line with other similar studies, the thesis demonstrated the importance of local factors in policy use. The thesis goes further than other studies of this type by identifying the particular structures, practices and expertise that resulted in informed curriculum policy implementation through effective knowledge utilisation. In particular, the study demonstrated the importance of intensive structured professional interaction to maximise knowledge utilisation.
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    Taking social capital into account when implementing educational policy : implications of the Kirby report for social capital in Ironbark
    Tinkler, Jacqueline A ( 2002)
    There is a growing body of research around the concept of social capital that suggests that there are connections evident in relation to successful educational achievement and employment, and high rates of social capital. Social connectedness - one of the outcomes of having social capital - is held to be very important for young people of post-compulsory school age, particularly in the current economic climate. This exploratory study will examine the problem: What can social capital mean in post-compulsory education policy, and in the manifestation of that policy?' This study examines The Ministerial Review of Post Compulsory Education and Training Pathways in Victoria, commonly referred to as The Kirby Report. Kirby takes the view that the links are strong between community and social values, the economic future of the state, and educational outcomes for young people. Within this report and its recommendations, the concept of social capital and its contribution to building community values is deemed to be one of the broad requirements of the community in relation to young people and their experiences in education and training. The concept of social capital and the effects of the growth or reduction of social capital within rural communities is also examined, and it is the links between social capital, the implementation of the recommendations of a report such as Kirby, and the ramifications of these links for a rural town in North-East Victoria of 2,500 residents, that provide the framework for this study.
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    Integration in Victorian primary schools : a study of the role of the Victorian Teachers' Union in the creation of public policy
    Roche, Marcia ( 1988)
    The thesis is a descriptive analysis of the role played by a pressure group, in this case the Victorian Teachers' Union (VTU), in the creation of public policy. It argues that the VTU did not play a significant role in the creation of the Labor Government's policy to integrate children with disabilities into regular primary schools. As occurred overseas, parent organisations were instrumental in placing the issue on the political agenda and pressuring the government to implement an integration policy. The VTU's decision to formulate its own policy on integration was a reaction to this pressure. There are several reasons for the VTU's lack of success in influencing government policy on integration. The VTU accorded primary importance to industrial issues with the result that its decision to develop an integration policy was reactive and belated. Policy development began only a few months before the establishment of the Ministerial Review of Educational Services for the Disabled. Consequently the Union came to the Review without any clearly defined or detailed policy. Moreover there was no strong commitment on the part of the membership to the concept of integration. In fact the reverse was true. Union policy had been developed by an active minority and the leadership had failed to communicate effectively its policy to the membership. When the membership became aware of the implications of the government's integration policy its reaction was so hostile that, in order to maintain membership support, the VTU leadership was forced to repudiate sections of the Report of the Ministerial Review which it had signed unconditionally. The VTU was then forced into negotiations with the government at the implementation stage of the policy-making process.
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    The politics of education at a provincial teachers' college : Bendigo 1968-1972
    Silverback, Ronald B ( 1981)
    The study is concerned with the attempts of Bendigo Teachers' College to gain autonomy and resist pressures for amalgamation with the Bendigo Institute of Technology. It examines the efforts of a small academic community in a provincial city to influence the future of their institution by resisting the policy of rationalisation of resources. It thus was necessary to look at developments in tertiary education in Victoria in the wider context and briefly examine the role of the Commonwealth Government as it attempted to rationalise and direct the tertiary sector through the allocation of resources. The attitude of the Federal Government influenced educational policy at the state level and it became apparent that the State Government in turn brought pressure to bear on education authorities. State teachers' colleges had always been under the direct control of the Education Department and they were discouraged from taking any initiatives that could be construed as being at variance with Departmental policy. Bendigo Teachers' College attempted and succeeded in initiating political action on its own behalf rather than rely on the Department to support it against pressures to become part of the Institute. It was a new role for the staff of the Teachers' College for they were all employees of the Education Department and were a nominally conservative group in a conservative tradition directed institution not accustomed to taking direct political action. They were influenced by the Principal of the College who either led or supported their efforts to convince the community of the merits of their case for remaining independent. It has thus been necessary to examine the role that the Principal and individual staff members played through the media in interaction with representatives of, the Education Department, the Bendigo Institute of Technology, the Victoria Institute of Colleges and the Minister of Education. The College saw that its best chance of resisting amalgamation lay in its ability to expand physically while broadening the scope of the courses it offered. To do so it needed to become an autonomous institution and thus it equated autonomy with survival as it adopted a defensive position against those institutional and community interests who would force amalgamation upon it. A complicating factor was the uncertainty of the location of the Fourth University, which, to the Bendigo community, was of paramount importance. Bendigo desired the University, the Institute wanted amalgamation and the College sought autonomy. The reconciliation of conflict between divergent and potentially conflicting interests was eventually partially resolved in the short term.
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    Leadership and successful implementation of change in Thailand
    Pinthapataya, Supatta ( 2003)
    The research aimed to investigate how leaders behaved and were perceived by their staff to behave during a period of successful change. More specifically the study examined the work of leaders who acted strategically, namely, the presidents of Rajabhat Institutes in Bangkok, when a new policy, Mass Education, was introduced and successfully implemented. The methodology used for this study was the qualitative approach. The study focused on the strategic leadership of the Presidents of two Rajabhat Institutes and used a semi-structured interview method and documentary review to collect data. The participants were the Presidents of the two Rajabhat Institutes, six administrative staff and six teachers from each Institute. Five elements of strategic leadership were used as a framework for analysis. The discussion of the findings was aided by a conceptual framework of strategic leadership, educational change and Thai culture. The findings revealed that the Presidents achieved success in the implementation of change through their actions, as classified according to the five elements in a framework of strategic leadership. It is apparent that both Presidents were very much concerned about global knowledge. Their knowledge of global and local trends gained them the trust of their colleagues. During their term as Presidents, they planned for the Institutes to enter into partnerships with international universities, with the aim of benchmarking on an international scale. Their vision was reflected in changes at the Institutes. The Presidents and their leadership teams collaborated as the key agents of change. In sharing knowledge and encouraging others, both Presidents performed the role of knowledge generators, mostly through communication in both formal and informal ways, which they considered their forte. The Presidents selected ways, appropriate for their own organisations, to share knowledge. Along with knowledge and support, the Presidents supported teachers by making resources available and by providing incentives for good work. In establishing structure, setting priorities and being key sources of expertise, the Presidents achieved their vision by aligning structures with plans and the tasks to be performed. They served as good models of hard work, dependability, and forthright action. This study revealed little about the long-term plans, which were flexible due to insufficient budgets. They effectively managed the annual governmental budgets of their Institutes to provide resources to support teachers and students. In ensuring the attention of the organisation's community was focused on important change, the Presidents worked hard to support the national reform agenda and to build human resources for community development. Their ability to provide knowledge through information technology was an appropriate way to serve the country in the implementation of the Mass Education policy. Strategic intent was apparent in the framework of the plan in its attempt to achieve desired outcomes. Strategic planning in the use of information technology contributed to achieving the goal. The use of advanced technology in learning and teaching enabled the Institutes to provide a wide range of curricula for the communities they served. The strong emphasis on community development led to cooperation between Institutes and the community. In monitoring and reviewing the implementation of policy, the Presidents informally and indirectly evaluated the programs. The purpose of evaluation was to improve the learning and teaching processes. The Presidents gave rewards and incentives to the teachers for good performance. The study revealed that the successful change that resulted from their strong strategic leadership was influenced by Thai values and Buddhist culture. The study showed that the Presidents were aware of the values and the culture of the people they were working with. Self-concept and self-esteem as well as ego-self are important when considering change. Senior status and hierarchical chain of respect are also important. The values of bun-khun (pay back) and krengjai (deference) were used on many occasions to ensure cooperation. The personal preference for "true-good-friend" (Kalayanamitr) also played a major role. The Presidents' ability to encourage staff to commit to change also reflected personal preference. In regard to Buddhist culture, the study revealed that both Presidents observed four aspects of Dhamma-oriented leadership: Wisdom Power, Effort Power, Faultlessness Power and Kindliness Power. In addition, the Buddhist culture of a middle way, and a harmonious and peaceful life led to avoidance of problems or confrontation. Persuasive talk, or looking for the next person to do the task, was the choice. Recommendations are offered for improving the practice of strategic leadership and for the conduct of research in the Thai setting.
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    Impact of changes in Victorian government policies on the provision of schooling for primary school students with disturbing behaviour
    McDougall, June ( 1998)
    The purpose of this study is to investigate the provision of schooling in Victoria, for children with problems arising from disturbing behaviour in regular schools. It is these students who have difficulty learning, and cause problems for peers and teachers. This problem has attracted more attention in recent decades than ever before as educators and parents seek solutions for these students. The impact of changes in government policies in Victoria, especially the introduction of the Schools of the Future Program, on students with disturbing behaviour is examined, together with effective means of supporting these students, their teachers and parents. The investigator defines disturbing behaviour and how it has been addressed in schools, particularly in Victoria. She examines the Schools of the Future Program, particularly Global Budgeting and its impact on school policies and programs, focussing on the effect of these provisions in schooling for students with disturbing behaviour. The investigator has conducted a study of school principals in the area centred on Ballarat in order to examine their reactions to recent government education policy changes, and their effects on the schooling for such students. She discusses the implications of these changes for students with disturbing behaviour, including the most recent societal changes involving the youth of today, for example, the State Government initiatives addressing Drugs and Youth Suicide which have impacted on support and resourcing to schools, across the state.
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    Australian Education Council deliberations on education and technology
    Redman, Keith ( 1989)
    In November 1983 the Australian Education Council (AEC) established the Task Force on Education and Technology to develop options for a strategy of related policy and program initiatives. The study covered AEC interest in the relationship between technology and education, the establishment and operations of the Task Force, the preparation and presentation of its final report, and the AEC's replacement of the Task Force in June 1986 with an Executive Working Group. Research centred on the process followed by the Task Force, and the extent to which the Task Force report could be considered a 'good' policy document. Consideration was also given to the importance of the chairmanship of the Task Force, and the adequacy of resources to fulfil the terms of reference set by the AEC. The policy development process was traced through AEC documentation which included minutes of meetings, correspondence, reports, and discussion papers. For analysis, a conceptual framework was provided by Caldwell and Spinks' models for the policy making process and for policy statements. Corroborative material was drawn from comments by the Chairman of the Task Force, the Hon L M F Arnold. Findings included a failure by the Task Force adequately to specify its definition of 'technology' or to limit to a manageable scale the scope of its deliberations. The chairmanship of the Task Force by Mr Arnold was seen to be significant in terms of the importance of having a Minister chairing a working group, with the potential for leverage to take place, but questions regarding the quality of the chairmanship were raised in light of the problems experienced by the Task Force in defining terms and parameters, and in producing an appropriate policy statement which would take due account of AEC attitudes to projects requiring funding. While the process followed by the Task Force could be matched to Caldwell's model for policy development, and the Task Force was well aware of 'the need for a structured approach, meetings were dominated by discussion of procedural matters rather than content, leading to frustration on . the part of some members and resulting in a relative lack of direction in the development of report content. Geographical remoteness of members, and, the, need to balance Task Force demands against continuing normal workloads, were seen as factors impeding high levels of involvement and participation in the preparation of the policy statement. It was suggested that unrealistically broad terms of reference had been set, without the AEC being,either willing or able to provide the resources necessary to fulfil them, and that Task Force members' perceptions of being inadequately resourced affected the performance of their duties. The final report to the AEC was criticised by educators and educational adminstrators particularly on grounds of excessive generality in its recommendations, and of having taken inadequate note of activity already occurring around Australia. In all categories offered by Caldwell as criteria for a good policy statement, the. report received adverse criticism. It was suggested that the Task Force failed to fulfil its terms of reference, both by offering a series of discrete recommendations in specific areas, rather than a range of options, and by failing to supply details of anticipated cost. The report's major practical recommendations were not implemented.